One thing that Star Trek the Next Generation did fairly well over seven seasons was to develop characters outside the core cast that could, as desired, get a spotlight episode of their own from time to time.
“The Wounded” does that with Chief O’Brien, revealing some key character background that would come into play a bit on Deep Space Nine, and Jimmy and Tom had their usual rambling chat about it.
O’Brien’s old commanding officer’s may bring an end to a peace treaty with the Cardassians!
jimmy: They’ve sure been keeping O’Brien busy of late.
tomk: Someone had to talk the Shawshank Warden down.
jimmy: And not eat rice for breakfast.
tomk: He has capers for that.
jimmy: His potato casserole seemed more like a side dish than a meal.
tomk: You’ve clearly never grown up a poor Irish farmboy.
jimmy: This is true.
But if there’s no money in the future, how is anyone poor?
Hey, is that a blue car?
tomk: Next to Gul Dukat.
jimmy: So, DS9 is not started at this point right? (O’Brien leaves this show for that one I think.). Is this the first appearance of the Cardassians?
tomk: DS9 comes along after Miles and Keiko have their first child. So, yes. This is the first appearance of the Cardassians.
That said, that is Marc “Gul Dukat” Alaimo as the head Cardassian.
jimmy: Trek does that. See Shimmerman, Armin.
tomk: I tried, but my view was blocked by Watson, William.
I’m glad the Cardassians lost the lacrosse masks.
tomk: But kept those memorable necks in part due to Alaimo’s having something like a long neck.
jimmy: I doubt an actor having a long neck influenced the alien design. Right?
tomk: It apparently did in this case. They needed to put something on his neck.
tomk: Hey, it helped give the Cardassians their unique look.
jimmy: No doubt. I wouldn’t have guessed that’s how the look came about, but that’s interesting.
tomk: Also interesting the Federation was at war with those guys we never heard of before for a long time.
jimmy: Heh. I did notice that. This huge war and attempt at peace with a clearly intelligent and capable race…that never came up before.
tomk: It can be difficult keeping up with the Cardassians.
jimmy: That joke took longer than I expected.
tomk: Stick around. There might be more, Kanye.
jimmy: Maybe that’s what that “rogue” Cardassian was looking for on the ship’s computer. Kanye mp3s.
tomk: Or they’re just a bunch of space fascists
jimmy: Once again, Worf is the only one that can see what is really going on here.
tomk: He’s the MVP.
jimmy: That said, not trusting the Cardassians is hardly a stretch.
tomk: Would you trust people with headgear like that?
jimmy: Sure. Space is dangerous. You gotta take precautions on your giant spacecraft.
tomk: I see.
You know, over on Lower Decks, the Pakleds are the main antagonists, and they apparently denote who has the most authority by literally whoever is wearing the biggest hat.
jimmy: They are smart.
tomk: Do you want a bigger hat now?
jimmy: Uh huh.
jimmy: I hope it’s made out of nachos.
tomk: It will make you Pakled emperor and popular on bus trips and airplanes.
jimmy: More popular than rice and seaweed for breakfast?
tomk: Hey, you wanna be married to Keiko, you shut up and eat your rice and seaweed.
jimmy: Ok. Though Ms Impossible might have something to say about that.
tomk: Hey, you wanna be Miles O’Brien, you, uh, better have some wartime trauma to go with your rice and seaweed.
jimmy: And know at least one Scottish war song.
tomk: See, you wanted Picard to sing. Clearly, Captain Shawshank Warden is the guy to sing with.
jimmy: And for all the grief he gets…it doesn’t appear he was wrong about the Cardassians.
tomk: Those guys are sneaky, devious, and they make O’Brien hate himself.
jimmy: Though he shouldn’t by the looks of things.
tomk: Well, he has a beautiful wife who listens to his stories of growing up a poor Irish farmboy in a time when there’s no such thing as poverty.
jimmy: He’s been known to exaggerate a little.
tomk: An Irishman? With the gift of gab? That sounds like an ugly stereotype, and you’ll be hearing from my shillelagh.
jimmy: Or maybe he just really doesn’t like rice and seaweed for breakfast.
tomk: It’s probably good for you. Have a plate of it with a side of caper casserole.
jimmy: This might mark the end of our chats.
tomk: I get it. You’re going to devote the rest of your life to finding the recipe. Well, here’s some bacon and a dozen jelly donuts for the road then.
jimmy: Chats are back on!
tomk: That was fast. Have some more bacon.
jimmy: Nom nom nom
tomk: The Cardassians donated that bacon.
jimmy: You just can’t trust those guys. Though they make good bacon.
tomk: It’s vegan bacon.
jimmy: I knew you couldn’t trust them!
tomk: They smuggle weapons in blatant violation of a peace treaty and meatless bacon.
jimmy: And Picard just lets them go with a vague warning. Trying to keep the peace?
tomk: Yes. Picard is a diplomat, and my guess is no one wants to start a new war given how awful this one sounds like.
jimmy: So awful, it wasn’t mentioned for 4 seasons.
tomk: O’Brien got twitchy in Ten-Forward whenever it came up.
Kinda like you when I ask about that 60s Spider-Man cartoon post season one.
tomk: Well, to calm you down, I want to add something I probably should have said last time and have more than once in the DS9 write-ups…I really like Keiko as a character because she is one of the many reasons O”Brien comes across as more like a real person. He has a life away from the job, and the two of them don’t always get along the way everyone on the bridge does, though there’s never a hint they’re gonna get divorced anything along those lines.
jimmy: You did mention that.
tomk: Well, I’ll say it again.
It makes O’Brien and Keiko more nuanced characters, appropriate for DS9 where there is a lot more nuance.
Besides, both Colm Meaney and Rosalind Chao seem to get steady work, and I don’t know that I can say that about every Trek alumni.
jimmy: None of the bridge crew is married either, nor have been outside of Dr Crusher.
tomk: Aside from some secret marriage or six Riker got into over the course of his travels with the promise of a quick return that never quite came true.
jimmy: And who knows how many holodeck wives Geordi has.
tomk: Same six as Riker has flesh-and-blood wives. That’s why he covers for Riker when Troi is looking for him.
You can read all about that in my forthcoming book Wesley is Evil and Q is there to Stop Him: The True Story of Life on the Enterprise-D.
Taking a step back, I see Colm Meaney pop up on stuff here and there, but what else has Chao been on?
jimmy: That was her??? Wow, I did not recognize her.
tomk: See for yourself.
tomk: You’re right. That Wiki led me to that page when it said Chao played her.
I feel so used.
jimmy: I was thinking she was way too old for that role.
tomk: Like Watson just raided my fridge.
jimmy: I bet he was looking for leftover caper casserole.
tomk: Well, he can have it with that Cardassian bacon.
And, after a lot of searching, I found a lot of stories about Chao joining the Shang-Chi cast, but can’t find what role she played. I am perturbed. I have a mind to give Watson more capers.
jimmy: Looks like she was Awkafina’s mom?
tomk: Sounds about right…in terms of age and appearance.
Well, regardless, O’Brien talked his old commander down with a song, and Picard issued a strongly worded warning to that Cardassian with the funny hat.
jimmy: And that’s the last we ever see of the old commander and the Cardassians.
tomk: Well, mostly.
But you know who else Picard might be able to issue a strongly-worded warning to?
jimmy: Captain Jake?
tomk: Nah, they’re cool.
How about…the Devil?
jimmy: I didn’t think Watson appeared until season 6.
tomk: Not quite. But the Devil can be a crafty foe.
So, not Watson.
tomk: But would you like to see if Picard can outthink the Devil?
jimmy: Do you even need to ask?
tomk: You might be off looking for more seaweed and capers.
jimmy: Hmmm, no.
tomk: Then we should move on.